Olivia arrives as Cherrydown strives to deliver best client care

 

Cherrydown Vets welcomed a new face earlier this year as we strive to continue offering the very best customer service.

Olivia Noble joined the team at our Basildon branch in April as client care manager to support the managerial and reception teams.

Having worked as a personal assistant and teacher, Olivia decided to pursue her career within the veterinary profession.

Following a five-year career as a PA, Olivia enrolled at Canterbury Christ Church University to study Early Childhood Studies.

While studying, Olivia could not deny her love for animals and worked part-time as a veterinary receptionist, which involved one of the most challenging tasks of communicating with customers in what can often be emotional situations.

Completing her degree with first class honours, Olivia decided to turn her passion into a career and to focus on customer care.

Olivia said: “I wanted to work in a challenging environment which would make a difference to people’s lives. I have always been a devoted animal lover, so I decided to pursue a career in the veterinary profession.

“My degree gave me an excellent opportunity and learning experience where I gained many new skills, which could be applied across multiple sectors.

“An opportunity for career development in the veterinary sector arose and I was appointed as the client service coordinator at the Royal Veterinary College, a leading veterinary university and specialist referral.

“Having worked as the deputy admin lead at Fortismere Secondary School and Sixth Form, I came across Cherrydown Vets and started the new role at the end of April.”

Olivia’s role includes ensuring communication channels between clients and the practice are improved, continuous exploration of ways to improve client care and the experiences they share with us across our Basildon, Wickford and Stanford sites, as well as supporting the reception team.

“I was delighted to be appointed as the client care manager at Cherrydown, allowing me to put my range of skills into practise and work with the community,” she said.

Alongside her day job, Olivia helps rehome cats and dogs who were surrendered to the practice and co-manages Peaceful Pets – Retired Greyhounds, the Essex based subsidiary of the Lincolnshire Greyhound Trust, which rehomes retired greyhounds.

Olivia also owns two cats, Nigel and Atticus, and two greyhounds, Milli and Elsa.

Vet reports rise in number of surrendered animals

Would-be pet owners are being urged to make sure they’re getting the right kind of dog for their needs following a spate of animals being surrendered at an Essex vets.

Cherrydown Vets, which is based in Basildon, took in two dogs earlier this year after they were handed in by their owners.

One was an eight-month-old cockapoo, which had not been trained, and the second was an 11-month-old Border Collie. In both cases, the animals were reported to be aggressive.

Kevin Wood, clinical director at Cherrydown Vets, said it wasn’t uncommon for animals to be brought to them in this way.

Kevin, who is based at Cherrydown’s 24-hour Basildon practice, said: “These two cases demonstrate how important it is for people to pick the right breed of animals for their individual circumstances, and be sure they’re able to meet their care needs.

“It is a big commitment to take on a companion animal – particularly in the case of Border Collies, as they are extremely intelligent dogs and need a lot of stimulation and exercise to thrive.

“However, it’s also important not to be judgemental in a situation like this – and we aren’t. People feel they need to give up their pets for a variety of reasons and the main thing we must consider is the animal’s welfare.

“When dogs are left with us in this way, either our staff take them home to look after them or we work with a rescue centre to ensure they are rehomed.

We will always make sure they have a good home to go to.”

Kevin said anyone with questions or concerns about the type of dog which would be suitable for them can contact any of Cherrydown’s practices in Basildon, Wickford or Stanford-le-Hope for advice.

Cherrydown Vets launches Pet Health Club

pet health club

pet health clubCherrydown Vets is launching its own Pet Health Club to provide a convenient and affordable way for clients to protect their pets against diseases and discomfort.

The service launches on Wednesday, October 18 and entitles clients to preferential rates and discounts on their pet’s care.

Anyone who joins will be able to spread their regular pet care costs with a fixed monthly fee which guarantees a saving of 10 per cent on all regular services.

Other benefits include a full vaccination course, annual boosters, tick and flea control, six-month health checks and microchipping for your pet.

Prices start at £12 per month for cats and £12.99 per month for dogs, with minimum savings ranging between £78 and £92 for the first year of the plan.

Emma Blackman, practice manager at Cherrydown’s Basildon branch, said: “Our new Pet Health Club will help spread costs for the things you know you are going to need while also reducing the cost of the unexpected.

“The plan also provides reassurance for owners whose pets have limited insurance policies, and help them make their money go further.

“Everything is covered right down to nail clipping – you can just pop in for a mini-pedicure!

“The service has something to offer for all of our clients and we’d be delighted to discuss its benefits, either in person or over the phone.”

You can register your interest for the Pet Health Club at www.cherrydownvets.co.uk/pet-care/pet-health-club, or by calling 01268 533 636.

How to keep your pet cool this summer

cat on sunny day

keep dogs cool in summerIf you have a Dog……….

Dogs are not very good at keeping themselves cool so they will need your help. Ensure they have plenty of water, whether they are in the house or out on a walk. If you are at home keep the water in a heavy bowl so it can’t be easily knocked over

Don’t keep your dog in a car. You may think it’s ok to do this as you are leaving the window open, however, it’s not enough to keep the car cool. According to the RSPCA if it’s 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside the car. Dogs die this way every year, please don’t let this happen to your dog.

Take your dog for a walk at cooler times of the day. Go in the morning and the evening instead.

If your dog is outside all day make sure there is plenty of shade as well as lots of water.

Regularly groom your dog. If you have a long haired breed, have the hair trimmed to help keep it cool.

Do you know the signs of heatstroke? Here is a checklist of what to look out for. Heavy panting, very red gums/tongue, excessive salivation, a rapid pulse, lack of co-ordination, lethargy, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting, diarrhoea and in extreme cases loss of consciousness.  If you see your dog displaying any of these symptoms ensure you take immediate action. Try to cool your dog down gradually as heatstroke can be fatal.  Douse your dog in cool water (not cold or iced water) and let it drink small amounts of cool water (again not cold or iced) until their breathing is more normal.  Then take your dog to the vets to be checked to make sure everything is ok.

cat on sunny dayIf you have a cat……….

Cats love the warm weather and are a lot better at keeping themselves cool. However, if it is excessively hot here are a few things you can do.

If you have a cat that likes to go outside, try not to let it out between 10am and 3pm so it avoids the hottest times of the day. If they are indoor cats keep blinds shut and curtains closed as this helps to keep the house cool.

Make sure your cat has access to plenty of water.

If you notice your cat is sleeping more it’s probably nothing to worry about. Cats are sensible and will nap more on a hot dayrather than spend their time running around. Maybe they are the more intelligent than dogs?

Pay attention to your cat’s feet. Cats and dogs have sweat glands in their paws. If you notice your cat is leaving wet paw prints it will need to have more water to replenish its fluids. You could try cooling your cat down by dipping its paws in water but it may not be pleased with you doing that.

If you see your cat panting, it doesn’t automatically mean it has heatstroke. Cats do pant but they rarely do it. However, if you think your cat is panting excessively check for other signs of heatstroke and take immediate action.

keep your rabbit coolIf you have a small furry pet……….

As always, make sure they have access to lots of clean water

Make sure you keep them clean.  When the weather is hot it results in more flies and maggots. This can lead to flystrike. This can fatally affect rabbits.

Keep your pet groomed and if it’s a long haired breed, have it trimmed to help keep it cool.

Keep hutches in the shade. It may mean you have to move it around during the day of you don’t have a permanently shaded spot.  Make sure the hutch is off the ground as this improves ventilation and can help to keep it cool.

Give small animals food that contains lots of water such as celery and apple. This will help keep them hydrated.

Spraying a water mist on larger animals such as rabbits is a good way to keep them cool.  Remember not to spray them in the face as they will not like it.

There are many other ways to keep your pet cool and a lot of them are common sense. A good way to look at it is if you are uncomfortable because of the heat there is a good chance your pet will be too.  If you need any extra information and advice please contact us  and we will be happy to have a chat.

Dental Disease

teeth2

 

Many dog owners do not realise that dental disease, particularly gum disease, is common in their pets. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of dental disorder.   If there is a problem and it is left untreated it could cause irreversible damage to teeth, gums and jawbone.  Dog owners should have a dental routine in place for their dog to help towards a happy and healthy life. We will list a few hints and tips on keeping your dog’s mouth in good order

Use a good quality toothbrush.  It doesn’t have to be a special one.  Brushes for humans will do.  If you have a medium to large dog use an adult brush. If you have a small to medium size dog, a child’s toothbrush will be sufficient.  You can get puppy toothbrushes from your vet as they can be used on miniature and toy dogs.  If you are just starting to brush your dog’s teeth it may be wise to buy finger brushes.  This will help get  your dog used to the sensation of having its teeth brushed.

You will need to regularly brush your dog’s teeth.  This will prevent gum disease, the build-up of tarter and will help to remove plaque.  It will also keep your dog’s breath fresh.  If your dog isn’t happy about having this done, keep at it.  They will soon accept it as part of their routine.

Make sure you use pet toothpaste.  These are flavoured so dogs will like them and will be more likely to let you brush their teeth.  Also, dogs will be swallowing the paste so they formulated not to cause any harm.  You can get toothpaste and other dental products from your vet.

Give your dog something to chew.  A strong, rubber chew toy or rawhide strips can help towards keeping teeth clean and healthy.

Making changes to your dog’s diet can help.  Replacing soft foods with dry or fibrous materials will slow down the build-up of plaque.  The extra chewing stimulates the production of saliva which has natural antibiotics.  There are special diets available to help keep your pets teeth clean.  Speak to your vet who will be able to advise you on this.

Did you know dogs will chew things with enough force to break their teeth? Regularly check your dog’s mouth for any problems.  Things to look out for which might indicate an issue are

Chipped or broken teeth
Bad breath
Red, swollen or bleeding gums
Check the gum line fits around the teeth.

If there is a more serious dental issue look out for

Problems eating – advanced dental issues may be causing your dog some pain and discomfort
If your dog is in pain they may be shaking their head or pawing at their mouth.
You dog may dribble excessively

If you believe there is a problem take your dog to the vet immediately.  If your dog has a dental problem and is in pain the vet may take an x-ray to see if there are any deep abscesses.  If your dog has any loose teeth they may be removed as they cannot be treated.  The vet may even prescribe antibiotics to combat signs of infection before doing any dental work.

If you regularly clean your dog’s teeth there will be less chance of any dental problems occurring. However, it is advisable to get your pets teeth checked at least once a year with the vet.

If you have any questions regarding this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be happy to discuss this with you.  Alternatively, you can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Getting a kitten – Part 1

 Did you know the cat is now the most popular domestic pet in the UK? Cats and kittens make great pets but they are a big responsibility.  Cats will need lots of love and attention and, more importantly, they will need an owner who will be committed to them for the rest of their life – often 15 to 16 years or more.

If you are thinking of getting a kitten there are a few things you should look out for:

Kittens should be 8 weeks old when they leave their mother. Look for a kitten that is inquisitive, doesn’t shy away from people and is ready to play. Have a look at the mother as many of the kittens future traits may be in her. Is she a lap cat, is she happy to be handled?

A kitten should be nicely rounded.  Don’t get a kitten that looks skinny. Also, if it has a bloated stomach there is a good chance it could already have worms.

Kittens should have bright sparkly eyes.  If it has runny eyes, is sneezing or coughing then it would be better to avoid getting that kitten.

Check the kitten for fleas.  Lots of kittens will have them but they can be dealt with quite easily. Ask your vet about the best treatments for fleas.  If the kitten is really fluffy there is a good chance it is going to have long hair.  Invest in a good brush as the cat may need daily grooming to prevent hair balls.

Check the ears.  If there are brown or dark grey deposits in the ears it could indicate there are ear mites present.  Again, speak to your vet about how the problem can be treated.

Look for kittens with a nice temperament. Wild kittens will be difficult to tame. Get a kitten that will happily come to you and likes to be picked up and stroked.

So you have now picked your kitten and will be bringing it home.  In part 2 we will talk about introducing the kitten to your home, litter training and health checks.

Do please remember that there are lots of lovely cats available from rescue centres that are not necessarily kittens, but that will make wonderful pets. Their ages vary but there are often younger ones. Getting a slightly older cat has benefits as they are less likely to do things such as run up your curtains and otherwise cause less mess and/or damage.

If you have any questions regarding this subject please feel free to contact us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page

Boss and the Snake Bite Scare

Boss Wood is a lovely friendly two and a half year old Staffie. Helen Wood and her partner Max look after Boss while their son Gary is at work. Yesterday they took him out for a walk near the fishing lake at Lee Chapel Lane in Basildon. They were walking along a path near the lake with Boss off the lead when suddenly they saw an adder curled up on the path with Boss approaching it. In a split second the snake lunged at Boss but they were initially unaware that Boss had been bitten. They both had mobile phones and took photos of the snake as it disappeared off into undergrowth.

 Snake


After a few minutes Boss became woozy and they realised he had been bitten. Max picked Boss up & ran a mile or so with him in his arms while Helen ran ahead and got the car. They rushed Boss into us at Cherrydown Vets where our vet Kim Woods saw him immediately. Boss was a bit wobbly and his foot was beginning to swell. Because they had pictures of the snake we were able to confirm it was an adder bite rather than an allergic reaction which can present with similar signs. Boss was put on a drip & given steroids to reduce the inflammation as well as an antihistamine injection to prevent an allergic reaction to the venom. He was also given antibiotics and pain relief to make him more comfortable. Despite this treatment the leg continued to swell above the elbow, so it was decided to give him anti-venom. Anti-venom itself can often make an animal very ill by inducing an adverse reaction so it is only used if an adder bite can be confirmed & the animal does not respond to the initial treatment.

Boss responded well and after staying with us overnight he was sent home on antibiotics. We will however need to see him regularly over the next few days as adder bites can cause tissue necrosis (cell death) in the immediate area surrounding the bite, which may require further antibiotics.

Because Boss was brought in to us so quickly it will reduce the chance of any long term effects from the bite. Adder bites are painful, often cause swelling but in rare instances if left untreated, can result in clotting defects, kidney failure and even death. With the start of the warmer weather dog walkers need to keep an eye out for snakes in the undergrowth or basking on paths. We usually see a few dogs each year that are bitten by snakes and we have a blog on our website for further information and advice

What to do if your dog is bitten by a snake – Click HERE

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Keyhole Surgery Spays

We like to keep up with advances in treatment and be able to offer clients alternatives where possible. We have just invested in equipment to enable us to do keyhole spays  (laparoscopic spays) and Jonathan will now be doing these on a Friday. We are one of the only vets in the area to be able to offer this treatment and we think many of you will consider it a benefit to your pet. 

What is a lapaoscopic spay and why are we offering it?

To do this spay involves making two small skin incisions in the midline of the abdomen. These incisions are far smaller than in a conventional spay. The laparoscope allows the internal structures to be visualised with magnification. Bleeding is reduced to a minimum, as the blood vessels are sealed with electrocautrey. There is also minimal handling of other surrounding tissues resulting in less trauma. The ovaries are removed via the very small incisions which are closed without the need for external sutures.

The benefits of laparoscopic spays  are less trauma, faster recovery times, less post-operative pain, small skin wounds with no sutures and less risk of wound breakdown complications and infections. As there are no stitches, the dreaded buster collar is not usually required post operation and normal activity is usually resumed after 3-4 days. A larger area has to be clipped on the abdomen and sides but most dogs aren’t too fashion conscious and accept this is a small price to pay for the benefits.

On rare occasions the procedure cannot be performed using the laparoscope so the procedure then reverts to a conventional spay. Similarly if complications do occur, the surgery can revert to a conventional spay if required.

This is a substantial investment as the equipment itself is very expensive, for example a lightbulb for the kit is £700. We have also had to invest in an Anprolene Steriliser as specialised sterilising of the equipment is required to avoid infection. As an introductory offer the cost of a keyhole spay will remain the same as a normal spay, however the price will be increased in the near future to take account of the additional costs involved. 

We will continue to offer conventional spays so that our clients are able make a choice for their pet. If you have any questions then do please call us at the clinic, leave a comment on our Facebook page or send in a question via email to enquiries@cherrydownvets.co.uk

Bull Mastiffs

The Bull Mastiff is a big, strong, intelligent dog that was originally bred from an English Mastiff and an Old English Bulldog in the 19th Century. Gamekeepers used them on large estates to help keep them free of poachers.

Even though Bull Mastiffs are big dogs they are sensitive, loving and can make good family pets because they are very loyal and protective.  They are great with children and will watch over them as well as being an excellent guardian of the home.  Bull Mastiffs are generally quiet and rarely bark, however, if they sense a possible threat they will make a lot of noise and will raise the alarm.  They are very territorial so will make natural guard dogs and they will protect you with their life.

When you read about Bull Mastiffs they sound wonderful. They are laid back, unless there is danger, faithful, eager to please, fearless and have unconditional love for people. However, there is one BIG messy downside………………SLOBBER!

These dogs are well known for their drool and slobber so you will need to have an old towel or rag in every room of the house. Also, have a few spare ones near the front door so you can give them to visitors who enter your home.  They do not discriminate when it comes to sharing the slobber.

Due to their size and stubborn nature, Bull Mastiffs need training from early on before they get too big. They need to be trained not to pull on the lead.  Also, it is good to socialise it with other dogs at an early age so it develops into a reliable and well behaved dog.

bull mastiff dog

Health Issues

As with most dogs there are certain types of hereditary problems associated with this breed such as Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Lymphoma Cancer, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Arthritis and Bloat.

For more information on some of these issues we have other blogs on our website and also our health advice pages. The links are below.  Also, as well as our main Facebook page we have a sister page which relates to our Orthopaedic Services and covers issues such as Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia.  Click here and it will take you directly to the page. Please click the “like” button so you can keep up to date with information about the subject.

If you have any questions about this please give us a call at the clinic where someone will be able to help you. Alternatively, you can leave a question on our Facebook page

Blog Links

Hyp Dysplasia Part 1 – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part 2 – Click HERE

Elbow Dysplasia – Click HERE

Cruciate Ligament Rupture – Click HERE

Arthritis – Click HERE

Bloat – Click HERE

Dogs and Car Travel

If you own a dog then you may, at some point, have to put him/her in a car. Whether it’s a trip to the vets or a longer journey there are several things to consider when it comes to the safety and comfort of your best friend.

Harnesses, Guards and Crates

We wear seatbelts and we make sure our kids are safely secured too. The same should apply to your dog.  They might be well behaved and sit quietly on the back seat. However, if you need to brake suddenly or if you bump your car, they could be thrown forward and get injured.  In a more serious bumb they could become a missile that will shoot forward and injure any of the people in the front of the car.

When deciding how to secure your dog, there are several choices available:

Dog Guard – This is a mesh which can be fitted between the boot and the back seat. This stops the dog from climbing over the seats. However, it doesn’t offer as much protection as your dog will not be protected from impact with the rear or side windows.  They need to be sturdy and properly secured in place to be effective as protection in case of accidents.

Crate – If you are going to put your dog in a crate you need to ensure, firstly, your car is big enough to hold it and secondly, the crate is big enough for your dog.  You need to make sure your dog is able to stand at full height and there is room for them to turn around and lie down in a normal position.  Make sure the dog can see out of the container and there is enough ventilation.  Also, by adding bedding to the crate it will help prevent the dog from slipping around.

Harness – If your dog is too big for a crate or you would prefer another option, then it’s worth considering a padded car harness that secures your dog by linking in with the seat belt system. Make sure to measure your dog to make sure you get the right size.  We have read these are not entirely safe as the straps can dig into the dog’s skin during an accident.

By choosing one of these options, it will ensure your pet has a safer journey. However, there are still other things to consider if you are going on a long journey:

Before putting the dog into the car, make sure they have exercised beforehand. This will help them settle as they will have burned off some excess energy.

Some dogs get motion sickness/car sick. If you know you are going on a long journey, don’t feed them before you travel. Leave it a couple of hours. Also, don’t give them food whilst travelling.  Keep them calm and give them a new toy to play with so it takes their mind off being in the car. If this is a problem then we do have medications that can assist with travel sickness and ease their stress.

Make sure you have plenty of water and take regular stops so your dog can stretch its legs.

Don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window.  It could result in injury. We have had dogs at the clinic that have done this and have had particles or small stones flicked up by tyres  that shoot into their eyes.  Also, some dogs may try to jump out.

Very Importantly, do not leave your dog in the car, especially on a hot day.  Whilst in the car, ensure the dog is not in direct sunlight.  Leaving a window open a crack is not sufficient as the inside of the car can get very hot and every year dogs die unnecessarily because they have overheated in cars.

These are a few hints and tips which we hope you will find useful. If you want more information, please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.